Buying a business? Make sure you get access to everything - Stuff.co.nz

Buying a business? Make sure you get access to everything - Stuff.co.nz


Buying a business? Make sure you get access to everything - Stuff.co.nz

Posted: 27 Jun 2021 10:00 AM PDT

If you've found your price, and you're ready to make the sale, make sure you check you're getting access to all the right digital assets too. (File photo)

Scott Graham/Supplied

If you've found your price, and you're ready to make the sale, make sure you check you're getting access to all the right digital assets too. (File photo)

OPINION: Telling a client we can't help grow their business because they were never given access to the right digital assets when they bought it, is one of the most frustrating moments.

I'd like to say it's only happened once, but it's an all too often found issue when you, as the new business owner, don't know what you should be getting. And, by the time you do find out, the previous owner has either dropped contact or deleted any of the essential information

Yes, you can start again, but sometimes this involves losing some of the social media real estate or customer data that you paid for. For some businesses it means having to build a completely new website because they can't access the old one.

Entrepreneurs are often not detail orientated (I'm not!), so if you struggle with detail, I strongly recommend roping in an admin genius to help you work through this list and get it done in one go. I know for me, this would feel like the torture of a million little paper cuts and would sap every piece of energy out of me.

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But I also know, it's got to be done.

Before we jump into what you need to check, it's a good idea to know what to look for in terms of value.

Follower numbers on social media and email lists are often counted in the value of the sale of the business. These numbers only mean something if you can check if these are active and engaged users.

Take a look at the social media and look at how many comments posts get (likes are not key to engagement). A following of 100,000 means nothing if no one cares about the posts enough to comment.

If they are selling an email list, ask them how the people joined the list (have they made a purchase, how were they added), and how often they've been emailed. If they've not been emailed in six months, the list will need to be re-engaged.

A website is only useful as it can be connected (or talk to) marketing automation software and social media channels (you need to see if they have a Facebook store or have been running catalogue ads if they have an ecommerce store).

Of course, it's perfectly fine to buy a business that has poor results in any of the above as it means that with marketing you'll see growth. However, these assets are worthless unless they are fully functional, have room to grow and have built a strong community of fans.

Marketing strategist Rachel Klaver.

Identify Marketing

Marketing strategist Rachel Klaver.

Be aware that often small business owners don't have all this information in one tidy place, so it's a good idea to meet with the seller and ask them to work through this list.

If you've found your price, and you're ready to make the sale, here's what needs to come to you as part of the sale:

Website logins, and their "web person" details

If they've used a web developer, it's important you get an introduction. Find out how they work, whether you are able to make changes independently, and how they can support you.

You also need to know the logins and renewal date for your domain and hosting providers (clients have had sites go down because they didn't know they needed this). You will need to log in and change all the contact information and remove the previous owner as an admin.

If the website is taking payments through Stripe or Paypal, you'll also need to change the account over to yours. Some websites have plugins and apps, and you need logins for these as well. You may need to go in and change the payment details for these also.

Ask to become the primary owner of the Google analytics/ Google adwords/ Google Search Console accounts.

You will need to log in and change all the contact information and remove the previous owners as an admin.

Claudio Schwarz/Unsplash

You will need to log in and change all the contact information and remove the previous owners as an admin.

Get all the email accounts

Sometimes the emails are under a different system than the website (I know, this can get confusing!)

Make sure you get all the domains that are registered to the email address if it's different to the website.

If they have emails that you don't need, set up an autoresponder to your new email address.

Social media isn't very social without access

Facebook, Instagram and any other platform will not help you get access to an account. Please make sure you get admin access and check it's all working.

One of the key pitfalls here is not getting access to Facebook's business suite or business manager. You need to have full admin access to the page, the ad account, the Facebook pixel, and the Facebook catalogue. You'll also need the logins for the instagram account.

It's important to delete the previous owner off all the platforms, but do make sure you have the correct access to everything first. Enable two-factor authentication to make sure you don't get logged out or hacked.

Logins to all the apps, and software they are using

Some organised business owners have a book or a document where they have recorded all their logins, but it is only as good as the natural admin skills of the owner.

I have lost count of how often I've sat with a client who's gone through the seven common passwords they often use, then send a reset password, only to find the original account was made with a different email.

Get the logins, and check they work.

You need to have primary ownership to Google My Business, Rachel Klaver advises. Not having ownership could impact the business' visibility in the future.

Solen Feyissa/Unsplash

You need to have primary ownership to Google My Business, Rachel Klaver advises. Not having ownership could impact the business' visibility in the future.

Google My Business and local directories

You need to have primary ownership to Google My Business. We recently worked with a business whose previous owners kept the Google My Business page. This has prevented them using it themselves, and impacted their visibility.

If the previous owners also registered their website on local directories, ask for a list of where it's been listed, and what email and password were used so you can update the listings.

There is something exhilarating about buying an existing business, and then making it your own. Getting the marketing logins for every area sorted helps create a smooth transition that helps you put your own plans into place and stamp your own new energy and excitement straight into growing a great, profitable business.

Rachel Klaver is a marketing strategist, specialising in lead generation and content marketing. She owns Identify Marketing, which works with businesses to create the strategy they need to tell their story better to the right people. Tune in to her weekly podcast MAP IT Marketing - created to help small business owners learn about marketing.

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